aging · Family · Grandparenting · poetry

A Torn Christmas

The wind blows,
a steady beat,
disperses Texas heat
palms succumb
to the rhythm
seduce the cerulean sky,
my heart a bird in flight

Back home winds cut
squalls threaten, snow
swirls nipping children’s
cheeks, while inside
hearths glow, eyes sparkle,
an anticipation my heart
aches to behold

This year, we’ve balked
tradition, chosen sunnier
vistas, the selfishness of two
will limit our Christmas
to FaceTime chats, snapshots
of excitement; my heart torn
between bliss and guilt.

(The Daily Post prompt:  torn.  Image and baking by my daughter.  Missing limb courtesy of a granddaughter.)

aging · Family · Grandparenting · life · poetry · women's issues

Mothers and Daughters

A child hides
tricks her mother
into believing she is lost;
This is not a game, Mother says,
panic still coursing through veins,
visions of abduction blinding reason.

Mother knows
what six-year-olds cannot:
that simple outings can turn –
unexpected loitering around corners,
the certainty of menace; she is wide-awake
cautious, protective of innocence in her charge.

Where was my mother,
she wonders, when I wandered away,
younger even than this one, when unattended
I roamed the neighbourhood, left to my own devices,
did she not know about danger, about shadows lurking,
and how did she not feel the tug of fear for a child’s loss?

Cannot remember
a time when she felt anything
but mature, responsible, forgot
she was a child, seldom felt alone
and yet was she too not vulnerable –
ponders the conditions of parental love

She’s a grandmother now
watches as another generation
of mother and daughter negotiate
the parameters of independence,
feels the same lurch of terror for
the precariousness of youth

eyes the preciousness
of childlike wonder with appreciation,
recognizes that one cannot bear responsiblity
for the endurance of such an elusive quality
that in all things, loss gives over to rebirth
and in the end, reverence settles back in.

(Photographer:  Sylvie Salewski)

 

 

culture · Grandparenting · life · poetry · women's issues

Unbridled

Tender as a fledgling, angelic
curls confrontational, she bears
emotions with courage, femininity
unkempt, pridefully engages
creatures – pests to most – believes

in messengers, blessed with manna,
heaven-sent; draws her strength
from within, a daring soul, plunges
deep, pursues wholeness – cherished
vulnerability, unpolished, loyal

mimics nature, her innocence persuasive,
fear and protectiveness retreat, helpless
in face of the adventures that call to her;
she is submerged, infiltrating enchantment,
unruly – does not measure progress by scars

unaware of wounding, responds only
to the magical sense of play – a limbo –
instinctively trusting, sweet, views the
world from perches treetop high, wills
herself to fly with dragonfly wings.

In time, innocence will be intercepted
by practicality: Fate’s swift hand cutting
her down, she will be victim, react to
adversity, learn to mother, the wildness
of her youth chiseled by expectations

She will learn to wade through swamps,
acknowledge pain and her own inadequacy,
overcome and face life anew, the memory
of a freer time, a more wily self, fleeting –
the child in her more myth than memory.

(Photo from Pinterest, attributed to:
Joanne Quirante Escober)

aging · creativity · Grandparenting · life · poetry

Colouring Lessons

Favourite colour?
Black, says she
without hesitation;

I falter, stumble
mind reaching –
who likes black?

Is that a colour?
It’s all colours,
she’s nonchalant

intent on task –
carefully keeping
within the lines

Of course it is,
ill equipped am I
to disagree, images

of dark somber
corners, sorrow
and death crows –

Why black? ask I –
composure forced –
had anticipated pink

equate childhood
with primary shades
splotches of yellow

and rainbow skies
candy red apples
on lollipop trees

but black? no –
black obliterates,
negates, destroys

It holds the colour
inside,
she explains;
It’s the outline.

Not annihilation –
order; her mind
conceives of order

so much to learn
from innocence
have long forgotten

the art of staying,
within lines, finding
good in all things.

(Image: www.siparent.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aging · Family · Grandparenting · life · poetry

Babysitting

eyes wide with wonderment
fix on me, beseeching attention

rosebud lips part in genuine glee
when my coveted gaze meets hers

she tilts her peach fuzz head and
with a shrug of a shoulder expresses

a learned coyness, a treasured cuteness,
softening this old woman’s jaded edges

clumsy, chubby fingers reach, fumble,
eventually grasp their target, instinctively

raised to mouth, pink fleshy tongue
ready to explore – my aged hands

reacting, reflexes set to protect,
shelter inexperience, purity

I am awed by her perfection –
innocence flanked by innate trust

what do I have to teach this precious soul
whose joy of life, untarnished, mocks

my own brand of cynicism,  my words
painted with such bias as to destruct

not encourage the fearlessness she displays
eager arms reach for mine, seeking support

unskilled legs desperate to gain a stride
wobble, infantile toes slightly curled

she leads me to the staircase, pridefully
demonstrates how she’s learning to climb

fear fogs my appreciation, having known
the pain of many falls,  I reluctantly follow

admire her determination, the patience
it takes to build such dexterity, a resilience

I could learn from, wonder which of us
has more to offer the other, and then

she is done with the exercise, desires to
descend, has no idea how to proceed, and I

happy to oblige, guide her with the proficiency
of someone artful in the act of backing down.

 

disability · dreams · Grandparenting · health · poetry · recovery

Grandchildren Are Carrots

Motoring through duality,
straining, in the middle –
socialized, yet reticent –

My heart is overflowing,
like an unwatched sink
falling apart, too much

Driving, the past’s rain
blurring any joy; feel
dirty, taut, losing control

Harm vanishes, comes
back around; hosting
good intentions, rank;

Progression entirely
defined by vulnerability
smothering celebration

Towed along by sweetness
of children, dining on their
innocence banishes despair.

disability · dreams · Family · Grandparenting · health · life · poetry

Oh Baby, I Have Purpose

Baby Whisperer, they call me –
some definitions we just slide
into, naturally; discovered mine
at the age of nine, when my sister,
a child herself, gave birth and I,
the babysitter, was also born.

Ran a school that summer –
charged a quarter a week to
neighbouring parents, promised
to prepare their children for the
year ahead, turned my knack
into an entrepreneurship.

Uprooted at eleven to a highrise
full of families, filled my calendar
with other’s people’s offspring –
was in demand – while other teens
partied and rebelled, my wallet
bulged with babysitter’s cash.

Projected success into future
plans, told the guidance counsellor
I wanted to get my ECE – work in
day care – she scoffed, said I was
too smart, should be a psychiatrist
the world needs shrinks, not nannies.

So I signed up for psychology and
sociology – did not find myself, quit,
married a man – really just a child –
felt I’d found myself in the role of
wife, ignored the fact that I had
only replaced his mother – grew tired,

ran into the arms of another, racing
to have children of his own – knew
how to do children – returned to school,
studied Children’s literature, psychology,
set my sights on being a teacher – but
it all fell apart; alone raising three.

Married again, finding comfort in the
mothering role, became a teacher –
replaced offspring with classrooms;
certain I was fulfilling a calling, until
illness swept it all away, confined me
to a bed, homebound, erased purpose.

But wait; the story doesn’t end there –
because now I’m a grandmother – my
babies have babies – and even from my
invalid bed, I can care for the wee  –
the Baby Whisperer still has the touch –
purpose reignited with each new life.

Family · Grandparenting · life · Love · spirituality

Lessons From A Newborn

Rest; nap as often as you need,
life can be exhausting; store up.

Cry; let your feelings be known;
your voice is your saving grace.

Joy is a whole body experience,
immerse yourself in total delight.

Hold on to those who love you;
your survival depends on them.

See the world through new ideas;
you never know what thrills await.

Listen intently when others speak;
they will be your captive audience.

Imitate others; practice until you
have found your own expression.

Trust the process, living fully
in each moment; be present.

Honour the miracle of existence;
embrace the blessing that is you!

Family · Grandparenting · life · relationships

Welcoming New Life

The world awaits, Little One.
While you slumber in your
watery cocoon, loving arms
ache to hold you, adoring eyes
long to behold your perfection.

You are a miracle, Baby Child.
The mother, whose body
has sustained you, craves
to smell your newborn essence;
a father is bursting with pride.

Fear not the process, Sweetness;
darkness will give over to light
and the chaos will subside, and
your lungs will embrace the air,
and you will find your voice.

You are promise, Darling Girl.
You are past, present, future;
revival of hope; an angel.
Hearts are ready to receive you,
and the meaning you bring to life.

Have faith, Precious Baby,
that this journey you embark upon
will be filled with love, and comfort
and support, and that the gift
of your being is a blessed thing.

Come home to us, Beloved.
So many are praying for
your safe passage, and I,
for one, already hold you dear,
my darling granddaughter.

 

Family · Grandparenting · Love · poetry · relationships

Is Daddy Dead?

Tucks her granddaughter in,
gazes into wide blue eyes,
flashes back to another girl –
now grown – apple cheeks,
and an unruly thicket of hair.

Nostalgia is shattered as
the child smiles back, lips
betraying a trace of another –
once father – whose absence
clouds the old woman’s heart.

She holds the child closer,
reassuring her undying love,
cannot not shake the echo
of words spoken only that day:
Kayla’s daddy always picks her up.

Told the teacher her dad is dead;
a reasonable conclusion for a
young mind unable to articulate
the questions in her heart: why
his name is only ever whispered.

Tries to draw his picture, talks
of missing his cuddles, surely,
cannot remember a man who
left before she was two – the
grandmother prays silently.

What will they say when she asks?
Niceties about how he wasn’t ready?
Leave her to believe she is somehow
lacking, unlovable, when in truth
it is he who is incapable of loving.

Chases women like cotton candy,
three or four a day, cannot help
himself, an internet-driven obsession,
uses his daughter’s picture as bait –
perhaps she is right, her father is dead.